'I forced myself to eat spicy food'

'I forced myself to eat spicy food'

Expatriates love Bangalore for its cosmopolitan lifestyle, salubrious environment, food and people. Angela Carson, an expat from California, shares her experiences here.

When she moved to Bangalore from California 15 months ago with her daughter, 41-year-old Angela Carson had no idea what was in store for her. The single mother randomly started an online blog on her first day here and consciously avoided all expat clubs because she was bent on making Indian friends.

Today, her blog gets between 1,200 and 3,000 hits a day. She is also currently in talks with literary agents for publishing her book, titled ‘Insider Guide to India’, on her experiences here.

After moving here, she recalls eating alone with her laptop every night for the first five weeks. “My very first friend was DJ Yon, who was resident DJ at Skyye then. He introduced me to so many wonderful bars, restaurant owners, DJs and page 3 folks in town,” says Angela.

“I didn’t struggle at all when I first arrived. I forced myself to eat spicy food, brushed my teeth with tap water from the start and tried out all the new things I could. There are a lot of cultural differences, but I adapted and tried to understand them by writing about them,” she adds.

After getting accustomed to the City’s ways, her focus moved to finding a job. Carson presently leads a marketing and communication team for Vee Technologies, a BPO where she is the only foreigner among 2,000 employees. “I was the first foreigner to ever be hired by this company in its Indian offices.

I have an all-male team and there are only two other women on the management team but I’ve never felt any rivalry or negative energy. I’m probably treated slightly better than other people because I’m white but I can’t change that,” she says.

Having worked with high tech start-ups since the beginning of her career, Carson had something unique to bring to the table. “I understand the nuances of communicating with different regions because I’ve travelled and worked in the tech world in California and across Europe. I guess that’s what sets me apart,” she shares.

When it comes to her financial condition in this country, Angela has no complaints despite the fact that she is now working part time and earning one-sixth of what she did before she came here.

“I struggle to make ends meet every month and am trying hard to remedy my financial situation. Luckily for me, my blog has become popular enough to get me invited to many social events. I’m viewed as a part of the media now,” she says with pride. Many companies invite her to write about their events. “This helps me stay social on a shoestring budget,” she adds.

Angela even experienced what a lot of people simply talk about — being deported! “Last year, in between jobs, I was actually deported from India after being given a week’s notice. Back then, I got really lucky because I had just negotiated my package with my company and was able to go back to Spain — where I used to live — fix my visa, and return with my daughter. It was quite an experience.

I never thought of someone like me, at the level I am in my career, being deported! But I sorted it out and found my way back home to Bangalore within weeks,” reminisces Carson.

Unlike a lot of the foreigners who come to India, she doesn’t consider herself a ‘hippie’ in the least. “I haven’t taken a single yoga or meditation class nor have I any interest in “finding myself” at the moment,” she laughs.

So what is her next move? “I love it in India and will be happy here for years to come.  I would never move back to the US unless I’m really forced to for financial reasons. Once India and I are done with one another, I hope to find a new adventure to follow in a new country,” says Carson, excitement oozing out of her voice.

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